A 26-year-old Washington man was arrested at a hotel here last night on an espionage charge in connection with an alleged attempt to gather and deliver defense information to representatives of the Soviet Union, the FBI announced. It was the 11th espionage arrest this year, the FBI said.

The suspect was identified as Randy Miles Jeffries of 143 Rhode Island Ave. NW, who works in the distribution department of a Washington area printing and reporting firm that does business under contract with the government.

The FBI said Jeffries "obtained information related to the national defense of the United States by virtue of his employment" with the firm.

According to an FBI statement, "after obtaining the classified documents, Jeffries attempted to deliver them" Dec. 14 to the Soviet Military Office at 2552 Belmont Rd. NW.

The military office is a branch of the Soviet Embassy that deals with military matters.

In a formal statement, FBI Director William H. Webster said the arrest was "based on facts developed during an investigation conducted by the Washington field division of the FBI."

Details of what led FBI agents to Jeffries were not immediately available. However, law enforcement sources indicated late last night that his arrest appeared to have no connection with the arrests of the other persons picked up earlier this year on espionage or espionage-related charges.

The FBI said that Jeffries' arrest was authorized by lawyers from both the Justice Department and the U.S. attorney's office here. It came at 9:11 p.m. at a motel at 14th Street and Massachusetts Avenue NW, according to the FBI.

A law enforcement source identified the motel as the Holiday Inn.

Neighbors interviewed at Jeffries' apartment house said they did not know him.

Jeffries was being held last night in the D.C. Jail pending an appearance today in D.C. Superior Court.